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View Diary: How Airliners Work - Weight and Balance (160 comments)

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  •  Good question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnArborDem

    I had to think about that for a minute.

    Assuming we're at a constant airspeed, we can maintain the same amount of lift with less angle of attack and use less thrust as a result.

    This was very noticeable in the B-52. At very heavy weights we would fly slightly nose high. At lighter weights we would have a very noticeable nose down pitch.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu May 09, 2013 at 01:32:26 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I assume, then, that the computer systems of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      modern jetliners continuously adjust the thrust and angle of attack to maintain a constant altitude.  Otherwise it seems that the aircraft would accelerate upward until the reduced air pressure reduced the lift to equal the plane's weight.

      •  You are correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        At cruise we're normally on autopilot and have the auto-throttles engaged.

        We dial in what speed and altitude we want it to hold and it does the rest.

        On long flights we will sometimes "step climb" up to a higher altitude after we burn some fuel off.

        Going higher gets you better fuel economy, once you're light enough to get up there.

        I plan on devoting a diary to the auto flight systems  sometime in the future.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:50:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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